Friday, 19 August 2016

Piglet's Porter

I have been looking for a Pilatus Porter to add to my simulated fleet for some time and have just found this Freeware version by Tim Conrad (Piglet's Peculiar Planes).  It is a Pilatus PC-6C H2 Turbo Porter.
For a first trip I decided to fly this sim aircraft from Papa Stour in the Shetlands, to Fair Isle.
The general layout and texture of the model is very good.  It also handles well on the ground and at take off, and with restricted forward visibility the low side windows are very useful for runway control.
The handling on approach to Fairisle was straight forward and this model is a good aircraft to fly and control first time around.
The Turbo Porter needed about 1000 feet of runway for a standard landing.  Ground handling requires a higher level of skill than aircraft with a trike undercarriage.
I can see why many uitility pilots like this aircraft.  It is a very functional machine on short runways.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Back to our garden

 This week I got around to lifting the canopy of our fir tree and tulip tree.  This has opened up more of the garden to sunlight.

 The last of the potatoes have now been lifted.  The end of the crop always has a number of tubers that are unusable due to slug damage.  I now need to be imaginative with the host of little spuds.
 The new fence has settled down and with the growth of plants, it looks as if it has always been there now.  The new clematis climbing up the stick in the corner has just opened its first flower.

 This little chappie looks like a garden ornament in this picture.
It is a different story when he is on someones arm.  It is not often that you get to meet a kookaburra in Stoke!  What a laugh.....

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

In another garden

Over the weekend, our car shed its fanbelt.  The engine coolant boiled and blew out through the seal cap.  This is the first fanbelt problem I have personnaly experienced in many years of driving.  Fortunately, my local mechanics were able to fit me in to their busy schedule and the car was restored to full working order yesterday, with just a few tweeks.  It had to be a cash transaction though, as their card machine was broken and they were having to wait for a replacement machine to be delivered. ("It's difficult to get the parts when they are stored overseas!")

To test out the car, and celebrate its return, we took a ride to a nearby garden centre where they have a show garden, and the all important good cafe.
A gap in the rain allowed us to wander at will and take some photographs.
I particularly like the patio arangement in the traditional flower garden.
The pond is also a joy to behold.
....And of course the bees are a constant presence around the flowers at this time of year.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Hot Hot Hot

Last night the weather forcast was for unusually hot conditions.  This morning at 6.50 am, the temperature in the house was 21 degrees Celcius.  We decided to stay at home today and relax with lots of drinks to hand.
By 11.30, the temperature was up to 33 degrees - as can be seen from the indoor thermometer.
I went into the garage at this point and looked at the car thermometer.  It was just above 20 degrees in the garage - the coolest place at the time.  The heating thermostat was in  the front room, away from the morning sun, and that was reading 25 degrees - the coolest room in the house.
Of course,the bonus is that we can see the tomatoes ripening in the greenhouse in this heat.  It is a good job that I watered them early this morning.  Phew!

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Avro 707c

 Today we visited RAF Cosford for a coffee on our way to another place.  I always like to see what is around and today we spotted the Avro 707c out in the fresh air.
 This was the last of 4 prototypes to evaluate the wing configuration for the Vulcan bomber.  The first one flew from RAF Waddington in July of 1953 (707a)  a second 707a was built to modify the aerodynamics and a third (707b) was built to evaluate the air intakes and air scoop.
 This aircraft was built as a two seater and it is essentially a 1/3 scale aerodynamic model of the Vulcan prototype.  It was a treat to walk around this aeroplane as it is seldom seen in the open air.
 This was the resulting aircraft - a Vulcan B2. I photographed this one at RAF Finningley during the September 1973 airshow.  These aircraft were part of the nuclear strike force at that time.
 This Black and White image is of a Vulcan on the quick reaction pan at the end of the main runway at RAF Finningley in late 1973.  This photograph was taken with a Russian built Zenith E camera using Kodak ASA 1000 Film.
 These pictures are from 1975 when the Vulcans were still the main attack bomber in the RAF.  They had a crew of 5 and only the pilot and co-pilot had ejector seats.  The technical crew had the entry hatch under the nose section through which to escape.  I ran out of Kodachrome film and had to take this picture using Orwochrome film, a cheap Czech import which produced a yellow/green bloom and a very grainy image.  Photoshop has rescued it a bit.
The Vulcan was a noisy aircraft and the roar of the 4 Olympus engines is a distinctive sound that is not easily forgotten.  This bomber could climb at a rate better than some of the early jet fighters and it was strong and powerful enough to roll and loop - something that earlier bombers could not do.
Alas - it was a big and easy target for modern missiles, so its battle advantage was short lived, but when it went into service it was a world beating design.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Toot Toot

Whilst walking at Consall Country Park, yesterday morning, we spotted a range of orchids flowering in the woodland edges and fields.  I love to see orchids, but on this occasion I had not got a suitable camera with me to do them justice.
Whilst walking by the canal, we heard the sound of a diesel train.  I did have my L500 camera, which is OK with such subject matter.  Shortly afterwards we heard the toot toot of a steam engine and were delighted to see both trains in the station at Consall.
It is a rare occasion to see two trains in this station, sandwiched between the canal and the road to the pub.
We watched "Hotspur" (TKb 2944) pull out of the station first.  This is the latest serviceable addition to the Churnet Valley Railway train-sheds.
"Sophie" (33102) pulled out of the station a few minutes later in the opposite direction, passing the Black Lion pub on its way.  I enjoy seeing these classic engines in action.
Both of these engines were sporting a plate with "CVR Rail Ale Trail Special" on.  I suspect this is a pub crawl event!

NB. The annual Rail Ale Trail takes place over the weekend of July 8/9/10, in conjunction with the Titanic Brewery.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Peak Wildlife Park

Today is the day of the EU Referendum - a good day to vote early and go out to photograph Lemurs.
We have visited the Peak Wildlife Park in all of its incarnations.  The current owners have developed the site to have few animals, but with an interactive experience.  The visitor can walk amongst them.
I was saddened to find that the male Asian Short Clawed Otter had recently lost his mate.  This is an illusive animal and we were lucky to see him today.  In the past we have seldom seen these animals as they are allowed to live their life on their own terms to a large extent.
The Black and White Ruffed Lemurs are a friendly bunch.  This one came to investigate me and examine my camera.  However, he soon lost interest in things that cannot be eaten.
It is the Ring-tail Lemurs that catch the eye.  They have young and they are free to move around the visitors in their enclosure.  The challenge here is to take photographs which do not include bits of  other people.
This family group was fascinating.  The youngsters were running around and climbing in the trees whilst the parents remained still and kept a watchful eye on them.
200 photographs on and what a joyful way to spend a morning.